Report Pushes for Updated Noise Data at Logan Airport

A consultant is recommending the city encourage Logan Airport to redo its noise exposure map for Chelsea using more recent data.

City Manager Fidel Maltez recently met with Vianair, the company that conducted a study related to noise from airplanes passing over Chelsea from Logan Airport for the city.

In response to a request from the city council, Maltez recently submitted that report and its findings with the council.

“The firm highlighted that Boston Logan International Airport recently completed an update to the noise exposure map, but that this latest map was based on 2020 operations, which were significantly impacted by the Covid-19 Global Pandemic,” Maltez stated. “Vianair recommends that the City of Chelsea encourages Logan Airport to redo the exposure map using 2023 data, since the airport operations have now reached 90% peak pre-Covid numbers of 2019. I will be contacting Massport’s Community Advisory Committee (CAC) to make this request.”

Maltez noted that representatives from Vianair are also available to answer any questions from the council at a future subcommittee meeting.

The executive summary of the Vianair report notes that the residents of Chelsea are overflown by arrivals on Runway 15R and departures from Runway 33L.

“The airport provided funding for residential sound insulation in Chelsea for decades,” the report states. “Funding for sound insulation was discontinued due to ‘ineligibility’ as reported by the airport. Typically, airport funding for noise mitigation (including sound insulation) is based on noise exposure levels of DNL 65 or higher, per federal standards.”

DNL stands for the Day Night Average Sound Level, and reflects a person’s cumulative exposure to sound over a 24-hour period.

“Analyses conducted by Vianair suggest operation levels and noise exposure have grown significantly since the last assessment conducted by Massport,” the report states. “Formal updates to the Noise Exposure Maps should be published.”

According to the report, the updates will likely show increased noise exposure in communities surrounding Boston, including Chelsea.

“However, even if a formal noise exposure map update indicates noise exposure levels in Chelsea remain below DNL 65, the recovery in annual operations and constant use of 15R-33L will result in increasing overflights and aircraft noise for Chelsea residents,” the report stated. “Collaboration with Massport should be pursued to ensure an understanding of the airport’s impact on the quality of life for Chelsea residents.”

District 8 Councilor Calvin Brown said the city, residents, and stakeholders should engage in that conversation with Massport to come to some kind of strategy on how to reduce the noise from the airport.

“There is so much noise that we hear as residents of the city,” said Councilor-at-Large Kelly Garcia. “If we don’t have a plane flying over our head, we have a train horn. I want you all to know that this council has it as a top priority and are actively working on figuring out how to get our quiet zone back in the city.”

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